Technology and its impact on the Fourth Amendment

By Timothy P. O'Neill Let's set the Wayback Machine to 1983. You are in a law school classroom and are discussing a brand new U.S. Supreme Court case, U.S. v. Knotts, 460 U.S. 276 (1983). The professor says, "This case holds that police use of a beeper to track a suspect's car to a drug lab is not a search under the Fourth Amendment. In order for police activity to constitute a search, it must intrude on the person's reasonable expectation of privacy. Here the car was always on public streets; theoretically, any person could have viewed the suspect's movements. Use of the beeper only aided … [Read more...]

Court takes on Fourth Amendment exclusionary rule

September 9, 2011 By  Timothy P. O'Neill Timothy P. O'Neill is a professor at The John Marshall Law School. He was a finalist for the 2010 "Peter Lisagor Award" for Exemplary Journalism in the area of Commentary. Let's talk about "The Biggest Loser." No, not the TV show. I want to talk about what Linda Greenhouse referred to as "The Biggest Loser" of the 2010 term of the U.S. Supreme Court: the Fourth Amendment. From a defense perspective, the result was scorched earth. For openers, the government won all three Fourth Amendment cases. Justice Samuel Alito wrote two of the majority … [Read more...]

Nashville Criminal Attorneys Explain: Reckless Driving in Tennessee

What is Reckless Driving in Tennessee? In Tennessee, you can be charged with reckless driving if you have driven a vehicle with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of other people, or property. In addition, anyone who drives a motorcycle with the front wheel off the ground and in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others can be charged and convicted of reckless driving. What is the Punishment for Reckless Driving in Tennessee? Reckless Driving in Tennessee is a Class B Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in jail and fines not to exceed $500. How fast do I … [Read more...]

Nashville DUI Attorneys Explain: Don’t want to do jail time for 1st DUI in TN?

Generally, a first offense DUI conviction requires a minimum of 48 hours jail, in addition to the fines, court costs and the loss of your driver’s license. For most law abiding citizens the thought of ANY jail time is a scary thought. There is an alternative to jail time for a DUI first in Tennessee. In Tennessee, first time DUI offenders in Nashville (or any other city which has a population great than 100,000) can perform 200 hours of community service work instead of 48 hours of jail. Count it – 5 full work weeks. That’s a lot of community service, however that option is available … [Read more...]

NASHVILLE DUI ARRESTS INCREASE

Metro Nashville police recently released a statement indicating they have been provided additional funding through the Governor’s Highway Safety Office which has allowed them to use extra duty police officers to target individuals suspected of driving under the influence. The department reports that the extra duty police officers have arrested over 400 people this year charged with DUI in Nashville. The Metro Nashville DUI Unit has arrested 689 people charged with DUI. It is expected that the officers will continue targeting DUI arrests in high crime areas as well as areas known for DUI … [Read more...]

Nashville Criminal Attorneys Explain: Entrapment in Tennessee

Entrapment is now a valid defense in Tennessee, based on the premise that “public policy demands a purity of government and its processes which does not exist when law enforcement, in effect, manufactures the crime and the criminal as opposed to preventing the crime and apprehending the criminal.” (See State v. Jones, 598 S.W.2d at 216; State v. Shropshire, 874 S.W.2d at 638.) The defense of entrapment did not exist in Tennessee until the 1980 Tennessee Supreme Court Decision in State v. Jones.  In 1989 the Legislature set out the defense of Entrapment in Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-11-505 as … [Read more...]

Nashville Criminal Attorney Explains: New Search Warrant Law in Tennessee

Tennessee law previously required that the execution of search warrants by police officers follow a certain set of simple yet strict rules. If those rules were not followed precisely, it could result in the implementation of what is known to Nashville criminal defense attorneys as the exclusionary rule. The exclusionary rule provides that any evidence which is obtained in violation of an individual’s constitutional rights is subject to being suppressed entirely and not available to prosecutors for use at a criminal trial. A new law in Tennessee, which will go into effect July 1, 2011, will … [Read more...]

Nashville DUI Attorney Explains: New DUI Law for 2012 in Tennessee

The current Tennessee DUI law provides that a police officer may request that a person who is suspected of drinking and driving submit to either a breath or blood test to determine their BAC (Blood-Alcohol Concentration). If the individual elects not to submit to the BAC test they have violated the Tennessee implied consent law and will lose their license for a period of one year. On May 20, 2011, the Tennessee legislature passed an amendment to the current DUI law in Tennessee. The new DUI law in Tennessee provides that anyone who has a prior DUI conviction, vehicular homicide due to … [Read more...]

Nashville DUI Lawyers Explain the Constitutionality of DUI Checkpoints

Even to non-lawyers, DUI checkpoints appear to be a blatant violation of our 4th Amendment rights. It is a stop without probable cause, so why is it permitted? How is it not a violation of our constitutional rights? The reality is that it IS a violation of the 4th Amendment, but some violations are permitted under the appropriate circumstances. Here’s why… The facts surrounding the case that answered this question began in the mid 1980’s in Michigan. The State police set up a check-point. Citizens filed suit (Michigan v. Sitz) seeking an order precluding the state police from using DUI … [Read more...]

Nashville Criminal Lawyer Explains Your Rights as a Criminal Defendant

Both the United States and the State of Tennessee’s Constitution guarantees defendants in a criminal case certain rights which are critical to the defense of your case. 1. Right against Self Incrimination. It’s the ‘right to remain silent’ of Miranda. It’s also your right to testify, or to not testify at trial. Because of this right it can’t be held against you if you choose not to testify. 2. Right to a Criminal Attorney. Whether you can, or can’t afford one, you are entitled to a criminal defense attorney to assist in the defense of your criminal case. 3. Right to Call Witnesses and … [Read more...]

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